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Comment: Re:Tesla Is Good For All (Score 1) 351

by Dahamma (#49809985) Attached to: How Elon Musk's Growing Empire is Fueled By Government Subsidies

I can't believe that I haven't seen a single comment pointing out Elon Musk's hypocrisy and denial that his success was largely based (or at least enabled) by public support.

One of many available articles on the topic:

A few gems:

1. as soon at Tesla paid off their $465M loan, he stated that he thought the government should no longer loan money to companies like that. How convenient...

2. SolarCity basically lives or dies off of tax credits - *income* tax credits. But he has come out against income tax and in favor of use taxes - a very regressive tax policy that overly burdens the poor while letting the rich keep building their fortunes at an ever increasing rate.

3. he claimed he "got rich" from his earlier companies (Zip2 and Paypal) and "got zero government anything" to do so. He did make a total of ~$180M (before taxes) from those companies , but is worth $13B now - due mostly to Tesla and SolarCity IPOs. He seems good at math, so he really doesn't notice that almost 99% of his fortune was from his highly-government subsidized ventures?

Honestly I really want to like Musk, but the most I hear from him the more he is giving off a real Steve Jobs vibe - business genius, douchebag human. If he'd just drop some of the hypocritical libertarian "self made billionaire" attitude I might change my mind.

Comment: Re:I'm sure /. will ridicule it, but... (Score 1) 306

A general knowledge of chemistry is not going to tell you what "tocopherols" or "methyl salicylate" are,

A vague hint? Methyl salicylate would be a methylated salicylic acid (which anyone who has taken organic chemistry has heard of), aka an ester, so likely used for aroma/flavor which would be very common in foods and probably nothing to worry about in an ingredient list (though I have never seen it so I assume you are trying to be clever or it has a more common name?)

Ok, of course had to look it up. Wintergreen, eh. I think my above guess was fairly close. And why? CHEMISTRY! So, do YOU know what an ester is? If not, chemistry would have helped you. If so, chemistry DID help you.

Comment: Re:I'm sure /. will ridicule it, but... (Score 1) 306

BTW, you call chemistry "basic"? Why is chemistry of any practical use to anyone but anyone but a chemist?

How about reading a basic food label and not being terrified? You wouldn't believe how many people are in favor of banning dihydrogen monoxide. Ignorance is ignorance.

Let's apply that same logic to computer programming. How often are these kids going to be interacting with computers in their lifetimes?

Another poster already made a similar point, but since you used the "let's apply that same logic" argument... do you really understand the engineering behind every technology you use in daily life? Of course not. And most people I assume understand even LESS, but can still use it just fine. Computers themselves are a TOOL used by non-engineers 100x more than by engineers. Learning to use one is like learning to drive, not learning to build a car.

Comment: Re:I'm sure /. will ridicule it, but... (Score 1) 306

I was referring to subjects traditionally taught in school, of source. I'm pretty sure everything you mentioned is better learned by just LIVING.

Though I do believe some of those skills ARE improved via a good liberal arts education - as well as, IMO, the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT SKILL learned in college: research.

I don't care what your field is, if you have learned to be an expert in researching, you can quickly pick up a huge variety of skills/information you need in order to adapt to your specific job. It's always been important, but now with the Internet this skill has become an almost indescribably important tool.

Comment: I'm sure /. will ridicule it, but... (Score 4, Insightful) 306

I mostly agree with him.

I (and I'm sure MANY of us!) didn't learn any programming skills formally until college (and some not even there). I learned basic skills on my own because I thought it was fun, learned more formally in college, and really only made the decision to go into software engineering soon before graduation.

I just think kids are better off learning more general areas - math, physics, chemistry, writing/literature, social sciences, economics, and BASIC (pun intended) computer science/programming. Leave the specialization to a time where they know what that even means.

Comment: Re:Waste of Time & Money (Score 1) 272

Robot missions are great if your goal is to stay on Earth and try to exploit all of the resources of other planets to delay the inevitable human collapse/extinction in the short term. Not so much if the goal is to find a way to expand the habitable space to try to prevent said collapse.

Comment: Re:Races must be competitive by definition (Score 1) 272

That's true if you think the race is "over". But it's basically more like the US won the first lap and decided to celebrate by throwing away its running shoes and binging on donuts for a couple decades. They have basically let China start to catch up and passed (thrown?) the baton to a bunch of 5 year olds hoping one catches it and has any clue which way to run. (ok, end silly analogies :)

Comment: Re:We Are Aleady in a Space Race (Score 1) 272

Their proposed time table has them returning moon rock to earth in 2017, launching a space station in 2020, and a moon walk in 2024. So arguably, in a little less than ten years from now, they will have caught up with where the US was around almost two decades ago.

Your point makes more sense in the "race" analogy than you realize. Basically the US won the race handily in its "space technology prime" but now "two decades" later it's 50 pounds overweight and too lazy to train for the next one, while China is putting everything it can into it. Using the moon landings as a bar for progress only makes sense if the US could trivially go back. Which it clearly can't.

Not that I'm arguing the US *should* spend the money to compete with China on another moon landing. It's already been proven the task is just a matter of resource expenditure, so doing it again would be about as interesting as another Rocky movie.

Comment: Re:Lots of highly paid folks (Score 1) 124

Like many things, it depends on the state. Most (including California, the relevant state for most of the examples in this article) in fact do *not* have any requirements for "software engineer" or the use of "engineer" for basically non-engineering jobs (e.g. "sanitation engineer").

Comment: Re:The problem isn't the FBI ... (Score 1) 174

by Dahamma (#49595095) Attached to: FBI Slammed On Capitol Hill For "Stupid" Ideas About Encryption

Yeah, individual deliberation before voting as a means of change is nearly pointless these days.

Just look at the Koch brothers - they literally put out a list of "viable Republican candidates they will consider". So now it seems even primary elections will be decided by the American Oligarchy.

Never let someone who says it cannot be done interrupt the person who is doing it.